Gov. Newsom Plans To Spend $1 Billion To Bring Drinking Water To Small Communities

Harald Vaernes, operations manager at Christopher Ranch, pulls out a clove of garlic in Gilroy, Calif., on January 9, 2019.
Photo credit Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group/TNS/Sipa USA
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

In the heart of California's $20 billion agricultural industry, there are tiny, low-income communities that have to survive on bottled water.

That’s because their local systems are too small and can’t upgrade their facilities to adequately filter out the pesticides and contaminants from their local water supply. 

Now, Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill that borrows $130 million each year for a decade from a fund — meant for greenhouse gas emissions — to create a stash that will help expedite those fixes. 

State Sen. Bill Monning, who represents a large district along the central coast, has been pushing for this for years. 

“It’s going to be a long road to remedy these different water systems around the state,” Monning told KCBS Radio, “but having a reliable funding source, an administration that’s committed to it and working with local communities, we can start making progress tomorrow.”

Some environmentalists worry that siphoning the money from a fund designed to fight climate change essentially pits clean water against clean air. 

But Monning argued that by providing clean water to people it will reduce the number of greenhouse-gas emitting trucks that are delivering water.